As June comes to an end and July starts, I am honored to have the privilege to coach junior golfers. While many recreational players in Florida are avoiding the hot and humid conditions of the golf course in the summer, a number of my junior students are in involved in leagues and playing in tournaments. They are even scheduling their vacations around their golf commitments.
Whether it be the JGFA, U.S. Kids or PGA offerings like the Prep Tour and Junior League, my students have chosen have elected to test their skills on the course and play with other young golfers this summer. I am inspired by their dedication and I am awed by their willingness to learn from every experience that is placed in front of them.
Sadly, I cannot be present at so many events to see them in action but I am thankful for the parents who send me pictures and videos. Knowing that they are out playing, having fun and doing their best makes me happy.
If you are new to golf you may be wondering if you should start with a group lesson or a private lesson. Both are great options. If you are social and want to make some golf friends while learning then a group lesson is for you. I have been teaching a Ladies Group Class for over a year now and it is a lot of fun not only for me but for the ladies. They not only learn golf together but they laugh together and of course they challenge each other when they play on the course together.
Group lessons are also a great way to introduce children to golf. I teach a number of the junior classes that are offered at Okeeheelee Golf Course on Saturday as well as the Homeschool Group Golf on Tuesday at Park Ridge and I have found that most kids who try, stick with it because they get better each week.
When I teach in a group setting, I provide instructions to the group as a whole but then I do my best to provide individual feedback to each student. At times, I notice some real talent and I may speak to the parent about adding a private lesson to their schedule. During a private lesson, I can provide specific coaching based on the student's abilities but it is more costly than a series of group lessons. The additional cost does come with the added benefit of a faster progression of learning.
Many of my junior students participate in a weekly group class and schedule private lessons on a regular basis. If the junior has aspirations of playing to earn a college scholarship, private lessons are always beneficial. As for my adult students, most prefer private lessons.
In my mind, how you get started with golf is not important, making the choice to get started is the real decision. Everything else will fall into place the way it should. Please reach out to me if you have specific questions or concerns.
Student: "I'd like to buy a lesson package and book you for 10 days straight,"
My response: "Absolutely not."
During a 60-minute golf lesson, I spend time talking to my students and coaching them through various elements of their game. It is very personalized and I do my best to share concepts in a manner that they can duplicate when they are practicing at home or at the driving range in between lessons.
Practice is fundamental for any golfer and very important if you are a beginner or trying to improve some aspect of your overall game. So when a student requests lessons with me on a daily basis, I have to ask when exactly are they going to practice what they just learned. I firmly believe that my students learn the most when they practice and I have seen evidence of that when I receive the texts during the week about their progress or their struggles.
While it is easy for me to sell the package and book the lessons, I prefer for my students to grow as a golfer and practice before their next lesson.
If you have been playing golf for awhile or are just getting started; be sure to familiarize yourself with the changes that become effective January 1, 2019. I have attached the Summary Chart of major rule changes that was published by the United States Golf Association (USGA) below or if you prefer you can watch video tutorials on their YouTube page by clicking here.
In April, I received a text from one of my students asking if I would be willing to teach a 9-year old boy with down syndrome. I did not hesitate one bit. I was actually honored that she thought of me.
She later explained that she used golf as a way to encourage him to complete assignments by promising that he could watch a putting video when it was completed. He especially loves watching Rickie Fowler play. Clearly, he has a love for golf and that's something I cannot teach. When she told me that he enjoyed throwing the basketball in the hoop and was successful most of the time, I knew he had the ability to learn the range of motion needed to develop his swing.
Within two weeks, Mom had called me and we were ready for the first lesson. He was more interested in putting than developing a swing so that is where we started. My priority in the first lesson was to get to know him and for him to get to know me. If he did not feel comfortable with me or was not enjoying the time, he would not want to return.
Three months later, our lessons start at the tee, followed by fairway practice then his favorite putting and we usually end up practicing bunker shots. I have so much fun with him. He makes me laugh and I am truly humbled by his progress as a player.